Of Staten Island
Secret: Dare To Dream
(*both 2020/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Sergeant
(1941/**both Warner Archive Blu-rays)
B+ & B-/B-/B- & C+/B- & C/B Sound: B+ & B-/B-/B-
& C+/B- & C+/C+ Extras: B/C+/C-/C/B Films:
Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their
Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
are some dramas that have either a sense of comedy or try to go the
feel-good route or both, but it does not mean they succeed at
start with the best of the group here. Writer/Director
Judd Apatow (Knocked
and many others) returns with The
King of Staten Island
(2020), which stars Pete Davidson (TV's Saturday
If you can get past the sometimes annoying character that Davidson
plays here, then you're likely to find a touching (if not too long)
film follows the misadventures of a lost mid twenty-something stoner
(Davidson), whose struggling to find a purpose in life. His
successful sister is off to college and his late father was a fire
fighter to whom he lost at a young age. Since then he has been
leaning on his mother (Marisa Tomei) for financial and moral support,
but he still ends up constantly disappointing her. An amateur
tattooist, Davidson ends up tattooing a young kid whose father (also
a Firefighter) confronts his mother in an uproar. The unlikely
scenario happens and the two hook up and start a relationship
together. Not thrilled about getting kicked out of his mother's
house and being self dependent (no thanks to some deadbeat friends
either), Davidson eventually comes full circle and finds his purpose
in life by stepping into the job role of his late father and becomes
a Fire Fighter.
film also stars Bel Powley, Ricky Velez, Lou Wilson, Moises Arias,
Pamela Aldon, and Steve Buscemi.
film is nicely shot and has mostly naturalistic tones with nothing
too stylistic, akin to other Apatow films. The soundtrack is full of
great tunes and fits into the film quite well.
Features are vast and include (per the press release):
Commentary by director Judd Apatow and actor/co-writer Pete Davidson
KID FROM STATEN ISLAND - Pete Davidson and Judd Apatow sit down for a
discussion about the movie, their experiences working together, and
what it meant to film a movie inspired by Pete's life. Also hear from
Pete's family, friends, and cast members who shed more light on the
kid from Staten Island.
APATOW'S PRODUCTION DIARIES - Director Judd Apatow speaks to camera,
giving the daily "scoop" on set and discussing the scenes
NOT MY DAD: WORKING WITH BILL BURR - Judd Apatow discusses how Bill
Burr was perfect for the role of "Ray Bishop" while Bill
discusses his favorite moments acting alongside Pete Davidson and the
meaningful relationship that their characters form.
KNOWS BEST: WORKING WITH MARISA TOMEI - Judd Apatow describes the
honor he had of working with Marisa Tomei who plays Pete Davidson's
fictional mom "Margie." Pete, his mom Amy Davidson, and
other cast and crew also describe their amazement at Marisa's ability
to nail the role and the joy of having her on set.
WITH BENEFITS: WORKING WITH BEL POWLEY - Bel Powley describes her
friendship with Pete Davidson, getting the role of "Kelsey"
in the film, and what it was like navigating her character's push and
pull relationship with "Scott."
RIVALRY: WORKING WITH MAUDE APATOW - Maude Apatow discusses what it
was like playing "Claire," a character based on Pete
Davidson's real sister. Also, Pete and Judd Apatow discuss the real
elements of the brother/sister relationship that are reflected in the
FRIENDS: WORKING WITH RICKY, MOISES, & LOU - Ricky Velez, Moises
Arias, and Lou Wilson discuss their characters, the chemistry of
Scott's "best friend" group, and what it was like working
with each other on set.
WORKING WITH STEVE BUSCEMI - Judd Apatow, Pete Davidson, and
filmmakers reveal why Steve Buscemi was the perfect man for the part
of "Papa," and discuss the integral role his character
plays in the film.
OF FIREFIGHTERS STAND-UP BENEFIT - Watch the benefit comedy show
featuring Bill Burr, Ricky Velez, and Lynne Koplit - that Judd Apatow
and Pete Davidson hosted while filming THE KING OF STATEN ISLAND.
All proceeds went to the Friends of Firefighters organization.
DAVIDSON TRIBUTE - Scott Davidson was a member of the FDNY and was
tragically lost on September 11th, 2001. Judd Apatow, Pete Davidson
and his family, plus former friends and co-workers of Scott, share
stories in honor of the man they knew.
IS PETE DAVIDSON? - Pete Davidson's family, friends, and the
filmmakers discuss their hopes of what will come from the release of
The King of Staten Island, while Pete and Judd share why it was so
important to Pete to make this film.
FIREHOUSE - Judd Apatow and Pete Davidson discuss what it was like
shooting scenes in a real firehouse and the responsibility they felt
to capture the environment authentically.
CASTING RECS - Judd Apatow and Pete Davidson discuss how Pete's
decision to cast a large group of his friends was beneficial to
achieving the goal of the movie. Plus, Pete's friends discuss their
relationships with Pete and their experiences working on the film.
'POPPY' (GRANDPA) - Judd Apatow shares his experiences directing Pete
Davidson's grandfather in his acting debut.
(1990) was always an odd film, from a director whose strength is
documentaries and not feature films (Single
remake, and even Barfly
never did totally work either, though Murder
had its moments) explores whether the rich and wealthy Claus von
Bulow (Jeremy Irons, who won the Best Actor Oscar for this role)
killed his wife Sonny (Glenn Close) in their Newport, Rhode Island
estate in the 1980s.
on the book by the once more credible Alan Dershowitz (played well as
his younger self here by Ron Silver) looks at the case that he had to
defend Claus in court over. This is enough of a courtroom drama that
it fits the cycle that began with the Al Pacino film and
justice for all...
(reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) yet is also trying to be
a character study and crime examination at the same time. The makers
just try to juggle too much.
first striking thing is the opening credits of all the uber-expensive
mansions in Newport, one of the greatest and most expansive areas to
live that has ever existed. Then the film is narrated by Close as
Sonny, who is dead!
film carries this slight dark humor to the end and is from a time
when tabloid media was still separate enough from honest journalism
that there was no confusion, but all suspected he was the killer and
the lesser media played this up for profits and ratings. No matter
what you think of the film, a mixed bag for me then and now, Sonny
was murdered and the film stays a little ambiguous about some things
in a way that backfires. Oliver Stone co-produced.
include a feature length audio commentary track by Director Schroeder
and Screenwriter Nicholas Kazan and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
Secret: Dare To Dream
(2020) is yet another one of the usually unidentified cycle of faith
films not-so-cleverly-disguised as melodramas, sometimes with a very,
shocking, dramatic event included, to propagate the viewer into
submitting to its 'reasonable' world which is always slanted and
condescending instead. Many of these get 'endorsed' the the Dove
Foundation, but you will find no peace in the obnoxious formula of it
this one, with a real life hurricane in the background, Katie Holmes
(not the best return to form for her) is in a relationship with a man
(played by the underrated Jerry O'Connell) and raising three
children. Of course, things get worse and she finds another (read
safer) man in Bray (Josh Lucas) and will she leave one for the other?
In these films, the overly safer the better, as if O'Connell (on and
off screen) is such a dangerous subversive.
on Rhonda Byrne's allegedly best-selling novel, I will not be a jerk
and reveal anything else, but I will make it no secret that everyone
here looks bored and tired, that it is the nadir of pretty much
everyone involved and Tennant is a TV director who got luck to make a
few feature films, none of which were particularly good (Fools
and the King,
that are all very unremarkable and rarely make money.
a producer, he is a survivor of the business and it is no surprise he
lands up doing a project like this that is mostly a straight-to-video
affair (this played in a theater?) and that it is really bad. Celia
Weston also shows up, but nothing can help this dud.
include Digital Copy and a brief Making Of featurette.
(2020) is a new version of the classic, even beloved Frances Hodgson
Burnett novel set in 1947. Dixie Egerickx is the new young lady
finding another world of fantasy, et al, but unlike the beloved
version from a mere few decades ago, this one is surprisingly
unimaginative and dull despite supporting work from Colin Firth and
course, this time, it is shot digitally and they can do CGI effects,
but it just unnecessary denatures a story about a garden and rings
visually fake more often than it should. This also made it feel like
a watered-down version of Del Toro's Pan's
(reviewed on 4K disc elsewhere on this site) and outside of that,
without comparison to any other book or film, there is just no sense
of energy, joy or wonder here.
it plays like a package deal with little energy or enthusiasm, flat
and dull, not inspiring repeat viewing or inspiring anyone to read
the book. Perhaps I am not the audience for this one, but that is
not an excuse for what does not work... most of it. See it if you
only really, really are interested.
include three featurette clips (Characters,
and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
we have the Howard Hawks' hit Sergeant
(1941) with Gary Cooper in his Best Actor Oscar winning role as the
title man, who was a pacifist and conscientious objector who landed
up still helping his fellow soldiers, his country and a big WWI win
for the Allies in a film that was more timely than expected (the U.S.
entry into WWI was about to happen and the Brothers Warner were the
only ones dealing with the dark clouds building over Europe versus
the other studio heads who were ignoring it for reasons too complex
to get into here) and the film joins Casablanca
as a key year for the studio.
it can be corny, formulaic, have the trapping biopics usually have
and be a little heavy on the religion and melodrama (Max Steiner did
the music only a few years after Gone
With The Wind)
and the nobility theme might be a bit much, but the film has energy
and is a time capsule of the time as things were happening. Cooper
is good here, as is supporting cast, including Joan Leslie, Walter
Brennan and George Tobias) and the film is a bit long at 134 minutes,
but enough of it works to give it a look. Just have some energy on
your own to get through it and some will compare it to a recent Mel
Gibson film that had a similar hero.
include yet another excellent, feature length audio commentary track
by film scholar Jeanine Basinger, Making Of featurette Sergeant
York: Of God and Country,
classic black and white Porky Pig cartoon Porky's
(restored in HD and the live-action short Lions
in the NaturalColor process and looking good.
for playback performance. The
King of Staten Island
is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio
of 2.39:1 and an MPEG-4 AVC Codec with audio mixes in English Dolby
Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown, both at 48kHz, 24-bit, for older
systems) lossless sound. There is also a standard definition DVD
with an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a lossy 5.1
Dolby Digital audio mix that looks fine for the format but is way
more compressed than the HD version. There's also a digital copy.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Fortune
looks fairly good, but it is from an older HD master and has a lack
of detail and color that can be limited. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix was an older Dolby
System analog A-type noise reduction theatrical release, so you can
decode it with Pro Logic (or the like) and get some mono surrounds,
but this is dialogue-based with some music at best and the fidelity
shows its age.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Dream
is an HD shoot that is dull and not very inspiring, also accompanied
by some blur and lack of color. The
anamorphically enhanced DVD is even softer, less colorful and harder
to watch, along with its weak, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The
Blu-ray has a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix, but its not
much of an improvement and the music is unusually poor.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Garden
is also a recent HD shoot, tries to be dark, but instead, shows the
limits of its HD cameras and is no match for how good the older
version of the film looked, while the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix (apparently a mixdown from
a 12-track soundmaster) can sound off at times form perhaps
ill-advised choices in the mixdown, more apparent on the DVD's lossy
Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Its anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image is
the weakest of all the discs on this list.
1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on
can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a
transfer to all previous releases of the film looking cleaner,
crisper and moire detailed than any other time I have seen the film
or in any clips or versions thereof. Warner Archive has done a great
job of saving and preserving yet another key catalog title. The
original theatrical monophonic sound is here in a DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix that sounds good for its age, but it
still shows its age and is sonically limited.
either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, Reversal
go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases
Nicholas Sheffo and James